How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy

How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a procedure in which our doctors use a scope with a tiny camera attached to it to examine the inside of the large intestine, which includes the colon and rectum. During a colonoscopy, our doctors can also remove unwanted growths that can cause symptoms and increase your risk for other conditions such as cancer.

The success of your colonoscopy isn’t just dependent on the skill of the doctors performing the procedure, but also on your ability to follow instructions before the procedure. 

We asked our experts at Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County about the process of preparing for a colonoscopy. Read on to learn how you can help our experts get to the root of your symptoms. 

Change your diet 

For our specialists to be able to see inside, your large intestine must be empty. The first step to clearing your large intestine is switching to a diet rich in foods that are easy to digest about three to four days before the procedure. 

Easy-to-digest foods include the following:

During this time, you should avoid raw vegetables and fruits, seeds, nuts, and grains, as these foods take longer to digest. 

Clean your large intestine

The day before the procedure, switch to a clear liquid diet. During this time, you’re allowed to drink only clear liquids such as bone broth and apple juice. 

Anything with dyes or colors could affect your doctor’s visibility. Our doctors may also recommend stopping liquids a few hours before your procedure as well. 

Prepare to take laxatives

The night before your colonoscopy, our specialists may recommend laxatives to clear your digestive tract. As the laxatives go into effect, you might feel the urgent need to defecate and or need to stay in the restroom for prolonged periods. 

A book, a magazine, or a mobile device may help keep you entertained as laxative-induced diarrhea begins. Keeping adult diapers on hand may also help, as some people experience diarrhea on the day of the appointment too.

You can tell your digestive tract is clear when your stool is as clear as clean water. While this process may seem daunting, you can reduce the risk of complications or needing follow-up exams by preparing for your colonoscopy correctly.

Learn more about colonoscopies 

A colonoscopy may be uncomfortable, but it’s the only screening procedure that can catch certain types of cancer early on and enable the removal of polyps before they become cancerous.

If you’re 45 or older, a colonoscopy is a great way to find out if you’re free of colon cancer. We recommend a routine colonoscopy once every 10 years after you turn 45

However, we may also recommend colonoscopies to younger patients who notice symptoms such as blood in the stool, cramps, narrow stools, or sudden weight loss. 

Whether you need a routine or diagnostic colonoscopy, get peace of mind by contacting us at one of our convenient Orange County locations and scheduling an appointment. 

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